Thursday, September 3, 2009

The Power Of A Thought

If you are hopping over here from Glynnis Whitwers blog today, then welcome! If you havent visited Glynnis lately, be sure to do so over the next few weeks. She will be offering lots of tips about dealing with the every day things of life, with the tips being offered by members of our speaker team. So in the coming weeks, you can get 10 tips for many different subjects, so check it out!

My post on Glynniss blog today is 10 Tips For Having a Positive Attitude.

In keeping with that topic, lets talk about attitude for a moment.

I came across a startling statistic recently, stating that the average human has 30,000 thoughts per day. (Now how "they" came up with that statistic, I do not know... Im just repeating what I read.)

But 30,000 thoughts is a lot of thinking! Now consider this - if most of those thoughts were negative, self defeating, self condemning, guilt ridden, unforgiving, bitter, and filled with pessimism - what type of person do you think that we would be?

I will just take a wild guess and say - not a very nice one! How could someone possibly be pleasant on the outside, if they are filled with negativity on the inside? Our outward actions are usually the living out of our inward feelings, making it impossible to keep our negativity a secret - which proves how much power our thoughts have over our lives.

In my opinion, I believe that the biggest challenge to having a positive attitude is recognizing that there are just certain things that we cannot change, and accepting that we have to be positive, despite knowing that. If we allow the frustration of not having power or control to make change happen to overtake our hearts and minds, then we are sure to end up in a lonely existence, having driven everyone away as they grew weary of our pessimistic outlook on life.

For example, we dont have the power to change another person, change how another person behaves or treats us, change certain circumstances in our life, change our finances, change our children, erase the past, etc. Sometimes it is that lack of power to make changes happen, which results in frustration and resentment and anger, that causes us to become a pessimist.

I want to ask you to take a few minutes right now to jot down, or just think about, the circumstances/people/past mistakes/etc., that you simply cannot change.

Now think about how your attitude has been towards those things, and what types of thoughts you typically have about them. Are they primarily negative?

Now ask yourself, if you have done any of these things lately:

•Have you said any "could-have", "would-have", "should-have" statements today?
•Have you said "if onlys" about something today?
•Have you thought about that person who hurt you, and how angry you are about it, and how you simply cannot, and will not, forgive them?
•Have you replayed a conversation in your head about a situation that upset you? What you should or should not have said?
•Have you practiced a conversation that you intend to have with someone, that will not be a nice conversation?
•How many scenarios have you created about bad things might happen in the future?
•Have you been saying, "I wish I hadn’t"…..done something
•Are you forming a personal identity around for example, a disease? Do you speak about "my arthritis", "my multiple sclerosis", "my heart problem"? Is it always about the negative things?
•Do you ever make comments like "nothing ever goes right for me"; "everything I touch fails"; "I always mess up"?

A little self examination can sometimes be a huge eye opener. If you answered yes to one or more of these questions, then you may be in the habit of negative thinking, without even realizing it. This inadvertent habit not only causes us to be unpleasant on the outside, but can also pull us away from our walk with God, as we focus on our problems, instead of the Problem Solver.

Another important thing to keep in mind, is that negativity can be as contagious to other people as the flu. A sour attitude can sow seeds of pessimism in the hearts of others, and in turn, infect their hearts and minds with a bad attitude as well.

So ask yourself, "is my attitude worth catching?". If the answer is no, or you are unsure, then you might be in need of a little attitude adjustment.

For those of you who are in need of one, here are a few tips to consider. (And if it makes you feel any better, I will be doing this little task right along with you! There is not a person alive who cant use a strong dose of optimism!)

So lets get started:

1. Examine your attitude. Having a conscious awareness of our thinking will help us to maintain a positive attitude, and rid of negative thoughts when they creep up. Read Acts 8:22

2. Submit your attitudes to Christ. Bring your attitudes into obedience to Gods Word, and apply discipline to your thought life. Read 2 Corinthians 10:5

3. Be accountable to yourself. Accept and realize that YOU are responsible for your own well being and happiness. You can't depend on other people to make you happy, satisfied, or meet all of your needs. Read 1 Thessalonians 5:16.
Life is 10% what happens to me, and 90% of how I react to it. (Chuck Swindoll)

4. Enjoy life. Try not to get so caught up in managing life, that you forget to enjoy life. There may be a piece of your life that is discouraging, but it is most likely not your entire life. Be sure to keep things in perspective and ask God to fill with you the joy and contentment that can only come from Him.
Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the number of moments that take our breath away (Author unknown)

Sometimes it might seem easier to climb Mount Everest than to make a lasting change within ourselves, but it is possible. In fact, all things are possible with God!

We just have to be willing to do it, and believe that we can, with Gods help. This is confirmed for us in Deuteronomy 30: 11, "Now what I am commanding you today is not too difficult for you or beyond your reach." (NIV)

The absolute truth is that our attitudes can determine our destinies, and can actually become self fulfilling prophecies. Thoughts are powerful.


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Mary said...

Thank you Tracie for your words today. For the most part I am a positive person. Thank you for reminding me that there are areas that I still need to work on.

Have a blessed day,


Eagles Wings said...

Wow thank you for your devotion today and this post! I am printing it off to re-read.
Blessings to you!

Eagles Wings said...

p.s. I hope you don't mind I forgot to ask, I linked to your post today on my blog...

Angie said...

After reading you blog, I read another devotion I receive and it was about grace. They both tied together for me.

It talked about grace is something we love to receive but refrain from giving out freely. Just like our attitude. We want to hear good things from others to build us up but how often are we willing to give it back in return? We have all experienced grace from someone but all too often we let those moments become crowded out by the hurts that we like to hold on to that will reflect in our attitude.

To be able to give grace we have to receive grace. To see a good attitude in someone, we need to be an optimist and sow those seeds.

We all need to let go of our baggage, bitterness towards others and even insecurities to gain that positive attitude.

"Is my attitude worth changing?" You bet!

Misti said...

Wow, thanks for this devotion. I needed it so desperately.

Joyful said...

Oh for God to bring my thoughts captive. I believe the battlefield of the mind is my greatest war zone. Needing to take up the helmet of salvation daily.

Thanks for sharing this verse: Deuteronomy 30: 11, "Now what I am commanding you today is not too difficult for you or beyond your reach." (NIV)

It's not too difficult, because we don't do it in our own strength. On my own, my thoughts of fear, worry, health issues, concerns for others etc... consume my days, but if I ask God to bring those thoughts captive under His control, it's the only way I can find release.

Great post Tracie.